Children learn through their fingers. They learn poorly through their ears. If their fingers are stronger, they can learn more. This study found that kindergarteners’ fine motor control predicted future math and reading achievement.
Did you know that arm and shoulder strength are important for fine motor control? There is a muscle which starts in the forearm and ends in the hand. Also, if the child’s shoulder is too weak to hold the arm still, it doesn’t matter how fine their motor skills are, they won’t be successful at their task.
But opportunities to strengthen their arms and hands are built into their day: opening fruit snacks, carrying the milk, pushing open the door, peeling oranges, and squeezing the spray bottle while cleaning. If we do too many of these tasks for them, it is entirely possible we will hurt our children while helping them.
When a child comes to me with a task that is too tricky for them, I make them try three times before I take over. And it’s surprising how many times they are able to do it! They feel awesome.
I also use misbehavior as an opportunity to strengthen their arms. If a child is purposely bothering another, I assign pushups. It’s perfect. It interrupts the problem, it uses up extra energy, and it makes them stronger.
These are some activities I set up for my children. Here they are, so you can make more beautiful versions for your small people.
Austin is coloring with tiny broken crayons. They take more finger strength! So convenient. And frugal.
This one was an accident. Scrapbooking! An epic mess.